Saturday, May 30, 2009

2009-05-31 By the Time I Got to Woofstock

Dateline Richmond, VA
Lat 37.5542
Long -77.46005

On our last weekend in Richmond before resuming the journey, Shelby and decided to take in the 2009 Woofstock Festival today.

This is an annual event orchestrated by the Richmond SPCA and a whole pack of other dog-related industries.

A section of the landmark Monument Avenue is shut down, from Robert E. Lee down to Jeb Stuart.

Hundreds of dogs brought their owners out on a gorgeous, sunny day for fun, music and communing with other butts.

Shelby cheerfully walked the whole length of the event, pretty much stopping to greet every human along the way.

In the fullness of time, she spotted a cool vantage point from which she could stay cool and keep an eye on the whole event.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

2009-05-23 Nobody Knows the Truffles I Seen

Dateline Richmond, VA
Lat 37.5199
Long -77.4744

I stopped by the Farmer's Market at Forest Hill Park in Richmond today, only to discover that it's still too early in the season for most of the produce, except for some wilted leafy stuff left over.

But I fell to the sweet talking of Kelly the Chocolate lady, who had something I had not seen before. She had taken waffle cones and lined the inside with dark chocolate and then filled with banana, blueberries and strawberries. Unfortunately, you won't see them either, as I didn't think to take a picture of it until I had consumed the last one. Trust me, it was delicious and had nearly all my food groups represented.

The very cheery Kelly shared the booth with these other two ladies who had some righteous coffee from Blanchard's Coffee, located a short distance away on Forest Hill Avenue. Given that they completed my food group pyramid plus offer free WiFi at their shop, I see a return visit in the future.

I wish I could take credit for the headline for this blog, but the truth of the matter is that Kelly came up with it. She said she was kind of like a bartender for a number of her clients, who share their troubles over truffles. We can only hope they don't drive after the Vodka-Cranberry Cordials.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

2009-05-01 Tres Cachorros

Dateline, Richmond, VA
Photos from Mt. Sterling, KY
Longitude: -83.94502
Latitude: 38.06882

In the absence of having anything great to blog about, here are some pictures of my cousin Terri's neighbor's pups who paid us a visit shortly before my departure.

Incredibly, all three of these pups were from the same litter. I think their Mom has some 'splainin' to do.

The first one shown is named "Fluffy", for obvious reasons. Easily the fattest of the lot under that massive fur coat and quite enthusiastic around bowls of food.

This little female is named Maya and is characteristically submissive around older dogs (Shelby, in this case).

Finally, this handsome lad is named Megs and was the calmest of the bunch. Very friendly and my guess is he'd be the easiest to train.

I post this from the safety of being 500 miles away from these little temptations, lest anyone think that they might be the next ones to have blogs written about them.

I'm a one-dog man with a plan to see this one through her third act.

There are quite a few more photos of these little guys on the tail end (har) of my Mt Sterling Album on Picasa.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

2009-05-17 Such stuff as dreams are made on

Dateline Lake Anna Winery
Spotsylvania, VA
Lat 38.0567
Long -77.6678

I'm kind of a sucker for people who have a passion for something. And you don't find more passion than in a group of "Rennies" - those who populate the many Renaissance Fairs that occur around the country.

This weekend, the Virginia Renaissance Fair opened at the beautiful Lake Anna Winery in Spotsylvania, VA, about an hour north of Richmond and a lightyear south of Washington, D.C.

Like last year, I came up to hang out for the weekend among the enthusiastic cast and vendors who really give their all and go all out to make the event as authentic as possible.

One vendor, a lady named Gabriella, whom I helped erect her terrific tents, called this a "baby show" by comparison to the Granddaddy of them all, the one in Maryland. By this she meant that this show is more intimate and personable and I would heartily concur with her assessment, given the friendly, outgoing nature of its participants.

Arriving early by a few days, I stopped by the winery and met Eric, who along with his brother run the place. Eric passed my card to Cornelia Rutherford, who had phoned me before I even got back to camp.

I helped out on setup day, then helped with parking on the first day of the show.

Despite the weather being kind of threatening, a fairly good sized crowd showed up and much fun and merriment was had by all.

Sunday, the weather was far more ominous and while it went all day without raining, the attendance was off, but not the mood of the Rennies, who put on their shows as though they were performing before thousands.

Since pictures better convey the colors, costumes, events and general feel of the show, I have posted an album on my Picasa page.

Friday, May 15, 2009

2009-05-05 #1 in #1

Dateline, Richmond, VA
Lat 37.604555
Long -77.56938

One of the most important reasons for my rebooting the trip was to get Shelby back to her terrific Veterinarian at Tuckahoe Veterinary Hospital.

Over the course of our last week in Kentucky, Shelby had several uncharacteristic "accidents" involving tinkling in inappropriate places. This is not a function of letting her out enough, and I was concerned that she may have some sort of illness, so got her back to town and was given an immediate appointment.

After an exam by the very friendly and personable Dr. Chris Kaloski, one of his talented assistants followed Shelby and I out into the parking lot to collect a urine sample. This involved following her (Shelby, not the assistant) around with a plastic soup ladle. When Shelby stopped to mark a location, the assistant was there on the spot and skillfully collected the sample.

I asked her (the assistant, not Shelby) if she ever thought while she was in college that she would be doing this as part of her job, she admitted she had not but we both agreed that this was at least better than working at Starbuck's.

After a quick analysis, Dr. Maloski called us back in and said she (again, Shelby) was fine and just needed to take a medication that would help her with sphincter control, an ailment fairly common in older animals.

I would not be exaggerating here if I admitted I was impressed that they can now engineer a medication that so specifically targets a specific area of a body. My only personal experience with this exact phenomenon was riding in the cars of very bad drivers, who tended to have that same effect on me.

So if you are ever in the Richmond, Virginia area and find yourself either in need of a great Vet or just want to see cute Vet Assistants following old dogs around parking lots with soup ladles, you would do well to pay a visit to the very nice folks at Tuckahoe Veterinary Hospital.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

2009-05-13 R2R2RnR

Dateline, Lake Anna State Park
Spotsylvania, VA
Lat 38.100812
Long 77.795046

Okay, that last post may have been a wee bit optimistic, in terms of the damage being undone. It would perhaps have been more accurate to say the Damage was Masked. It is now undone.

"R2R2RnR" in the above heading means "Return to Richmond to Repair and Restock", which I did last week at the very capable hands of my trusty friends at RV Services of VA. The very talented Charlie took the time to straighten out the tweaked bumper and craft a little patch for the broken plastic on the corner. The end result is shown above and you'd barely be able to tell it was ever a problem.

He also replaced all three roof vents, which had become old and brittle (something I can relate to). And the capable Doug had a look at my refrigerator check light and discovered it needed cleaning. (The mechanical bits, not the fridge.)

While they did their magic, I visited my favorite store - Trader Joe's - and restocked the food supplies. I also swapped out the Winter clothes, putting them into deep storage for the Summer, which kicked in overnight last week.

As an added bonus, I arrived back in town in time to celebrate Mother's Day (and her birthday) with my Mom.

Yesterday, Shelby and I decided we needed a little adventure and set out for Lake Anna State Park. This location was chosen for two reasons. First, it's close to Richmond and easy to get to. Secondly, and more importantly, it's three miles from the Lake Anna Winery, where the Virginia Renaissance Festival opens this weekend.

I will produce several more separate blog entries on the Winery and Festival, but wanted to provide a little background on the Lake Anna State Park.

First off, it's beautiful. The whole campground is surrounded by lush green forests without a lick of light pollution. Last night, there were only three campers in the whole campground and it was just amazingly quiet and beautiful. You could practically count the satellites and space junk. Also the stars.

From their Web site:

"The land in Lake Anna State Park used to be known as "Gold Hill" and contained the Goodwin Gold Mine. Gold was first discovered in 1829 with mining reaching its peak in the 1880s. In 1971 Lake Anna was created to serve as a water coolant for Dominion Power’s nuclear plant. In 1972 work began on the acquisition and development of a water-oriented state park. Lake Anna State Park opened in 1983."

So it's not a very old park as it turns out and offers many recreational activities, including hiking and boating.

But it's the fishing I am anxious to check out, having heard that the lake is filled with the very tasty Blinky fish, shown here being served to Mr. Burns.

It's making me a little homesick for Dana Point, CA being within ten miles of a Nuclear Reactor. I wonder if I still have the Potassium Iodide tablets the nice folks who ran the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station and Beach Grill thoughtfully provided to all of us in the immediate area to take in the event of an "event". There is something disconcerting about a Nuclear facility providing pills (unsolicited) to area residents should things go wonky.

So for those of you playing along from home, our course has kind of backtracked but we still plan to head West from here, after the Festival.